Showing posts with label Ichiro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ichiro. Show all posts

Sunday, September 3, 2017

2017 Topps Clearly Authentic Review - A fresh look for card collectors

Topps is taking a new product for a spin with 2017 Topps Clearly Authentic Baseball, featuring on-card autographs on acetate in fancy encapsulated holders. As each box only contains one of these signed cards, collectors are banking on unearthing a gem once they get past the plastic wrapping on the box.
2017 Topps Clearly Authentic / Topps

A majority of the autographed acetate cards are in the design of 2017 Topps with new pictures from the base set. To up the ante for collectors, Topps has added four colored parallels (Green, Red, Blue, and Gold) to track down.

2017 Topps Clearly Authentic Andrew Toles / Topps

For those who are searching for a vintage touch, Topps has created Clearly Authentic reprints of major rookie cards, including those of Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Bo Jackson, Ichiro, Mike Trout, and Sandy Koufax. These autographs are markedly scarce compared to their modern counterparts in the set, coming at the rate of one for every 10 boxes.

2017 Topps Clearly Authentic Rookie Reprint  Bo Jackson / Topps
As the list of signers is loaded with nubile rookies, the odds are weighted that you are more likely to come away with the likes of Dan Vogelbach, Jharel Cotton, and Jacoby Jones, instead of Bryce Harper, Ichiro, and Mike Trout; however, that should not deter you from checking out this product.

The acetate is an attractive diversion from traditional Topps products, as both the images and signatures stand out against the clear background. The chase of snagging one of the reprinted rookie cards at a fraction of the cost of buying a signed original rookie on the open market is also an exciting play for this product.

With any guaranteed hit offering, collectors are taking a risk by hoping that the one card in the box turns out to be a winner. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response by collectors since its release, signs point to getting a box of 2017 Topps Clearly Authentic is one that is not only worth pursuing, but an enjoyable one at that.



Monday, October 31, 2016

2016 Topps Update captures the magic of a landmark baseball season

Cracking open the packs of 2016 Topps Update as the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs battle for the World Series title, one gets the perfect opportunity to relive many of the fabulous moments of 2016. From the rookie debuts, to the career milestone achievements, and the late season switches, Topps captures all of the magic of a landmark baseball season.

2016 Topps Update / Topps
Clocking in at 300 cards, the set is a sleeker version than last year’s 400-card issue. Rookie card collectors will be pleased to find additions to their favorite player’s stash with a Rookie Debut subset that commemorates the first time they set foot on major league soil. The All-Star Game is also a major focus, with an additional subset highlighting the All-Star rosters and Home Run Derby participants.

Topps puts a finishing touch on Ichiro’s quest for 3,000 hits, by adding an insert set to chronicle the remainder of the hits he rapped out to reach the vaunted milestone. Carrying on with the tradition of Series 1 and Series 2, Topps puts the spotlight on an additional 10 ceremonial first pitches.

Ichiro Update Autographed Card / Topps

Each box guarantees an autograph or relic card. The box provided for this review yielded a cool 3,000 hits relic card of Roberto Clemente. Additional inserts included Topps Fire, and the Team Franklin set, which not-so-cleverly disguised as advertising for Franklin’s baseball gear.

Topps Fire Insert / Topps
The design follows Topps’ base card pattern for the year, with clear photography and a clean design that adds to the appeal of the set. Set collectors will appreciate the ability to build an entire base set from a hobby box, with the 36 packs making a complete set with a few doubles to trade.

Julio Urias Rookie Debut / Topps
With the ability to pull multiple rookie cards from the likes of Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and Julio Urias, build an entire set from one box, and uncover autographs from some of the top stars in the game, Topps Update only adds to the exciting ending of a legendary season for the baseball annals.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016 Topps Series 2 is a perfect bridge to the pennant race for collectors

As we head into the second half of the 2016 baseball season, Topps gives fans another reason to stay excited with the release of their 2016 Topps Series 2 Baseball Card set. Filling in the gaps from Series 1 which debuted right at the start of the baseball season, Series 2 baseball is the perfect bridge to the pennant race for collectors.

2016 Topps Baseball Series 2 / Topps
The 350-card base set includes rookie cards of Kenta Maeda and Max Kepler, emerging stars in Carlos Correa and Jurickson Profar, as well as established veterans Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro. The Japanese legend is also featured in an insert set chronicling his chase to 3,000 hits, making it a complimentary piece as he inches closer to one of baseball’s vaunted milestones.

Ichiro Chasing 3K Set / Topps
Fans of Series 1 will find familiar insert sets in the Rainbow Foil and Gold Parallels, a second series of Berger’s Best, and an additional 25-card tribute to the highlights at Wrigley Field. For those chasing autographs, they come in the form of the prospect based Scouting Report set, the Glove Leather Autographs set which features a mix of prospects, veterans, and retired stars — for those looking for their Chicago Cubs fix, significant franchise members signed cards as part of  the 100 Years at Wrigley Field set.

Carl Edwards Jr. Scouting Report Autograph / Topps
The box provided for this review yielded almost a complete set, filling 320 of the 350 cards on the checklist. Each pack in the box contained an insert, including a Scouting Reports autograph, six Gold parallels, three Rainbow Foil cards, and one short printed card. At $60 per box, Topps’ main issue remains a good value for collectors seeking to keep up with Topps’ innovative design and add to the 65-year tradition of building a complete Topps baseball card set.

Monday, September 28, 2015

2015 Topps Triple Threads Review

Any product that features Ichiro in a Miami Marlins uniform immediately has my attention. Topps’ 2015 Triple Threads impresses before you even open it up by placing the future Hall of Famer prominently on the cover of their box. Finally able to bring the Suzuki to the Topps family after years of being under contract with Upper Deck, Panini, and Leaf, Topps brought tremendous excitement to their Triple Threads line with exclusive Ichiro autographed memorabilia.

2015 Topps Triple Threads

Upon opening the first pack, it is quickly apparent that you are holding a premium product in your hand. With their thick and heavy stock, high resolution photography, and a wide range of rookies, veterans, and retired superstars, each card feels like it is special piece of memorabilia worthy of the $150 hobby box retail price.

Click here to read the full review of the Topps 2015 Triple Threads, which includes a slideshow of the hits from the box that Topps provided for review.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Revisiting Jigger Statz's Legendary Feats As Ichiro Reaches 4,000 Hits

As New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki rounded first for what was his 4,000th professional hit Wednesday evening, somewhere in the distance was the fading voice of the oft-forgotten Arnold “Jigger” Statz.

For most, the name will not be familiar, as the bulk of his playing career came in the Pacific Coast League, far away from the lights of the east coast media.

Jigger Statz / SABR
Duke Snider, the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame center fielder, grew up watching Statz impress the Los Angeles crowds. Speaking with the late Snider’s friend, New York Yankees outfielder Irv Noren in 2012, he related a story of how Snider surprised the New York media when asked who the best center fielder was among himself, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays.

“Growing up in Compton, he followed Jigger Statz and everyone else out here,” Noren said. “They interviewed him out in New York and they had the three outfielders, Snider, Mantle and Mays. They asked him who the best one he’s ever seen was. He said, ‘Jigger Statz.’ Duke said this. All the writers went, ‘Who? Who?’ like a bunch of owls.”

Statz played professionally 24 years from 1919-1942, amassing 4,093 career hits between the major and minor leagues. By the time he played his last game, his career combined hit totals placed him second all-time, only behind Ty Cobb.

I first encountered Statz’s legend in Jason Aronoff’s “Going, Going, Caught …”, a wonderful book about the greatest defensive outfield efforts largely in the era that pre-dated national television and smaller ballparks. Using multiple news sources to reconstruct his highlight reel catches, Aronoff used ten pages to paint Statz as one of the greatest outfielders of the 1920s.

Aronoff chose a telling quotation from Baseball Digest’s Al Wolf, whose 1966 article, “Statz, ‘Best’ Center Fielder, Played in Record 3,373 Tilts,” aptly rated Statz defensively above the greatest center fielders in the game.

“Jigger is regarded by old-timers as the greatest defensive center fielder of all time," Wolf wrote. "They rate him over Tris Speaker, Joe DiMaggio and even Willie Mays in catching the ball.”

Statz played for four teams in the major leagues from 1919-1928, with his best season coming in 1923 with the Chicago Cubs when he batted .319 with 209 hits. He finished his major league career at age 30 with 737 hits, but was far from done.

Starting fresh with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, he reeled off eight consecutive seasons of over 200 hits from 1929-1936, and at age 40 in 1938, he piled on another 200 hit season to silence his doubters.

Lennie Merullo, the 96-year-old former shortstop for the Chicago Cubs is one of the few living major leaguers that played with this unheralded outfielder. Speaking with Merullo via telephone in 2009, he said playing with Statz as a member of the Angels in 1941 was one of the most cherished memories of his career.

“He was a legend,” Merullo said. “The word 'Jigger' you associate it with Jigger Statz. He was a good hitter! He meant one thing, one of the greatest center fielders that ever lived! He must have been something to play with at the time because I never forgot him."